Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso pave way for Sitarail upgrade

ABIDJAN, July 19 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso have given final approval for a change in Group Bollore's Sitarail operating concession, clearing the way for a 250 million euro ($288 million) upgrade to the west African rail link.

The French industrial group runs Sitarail, which links Ivory Coast's port of Abidjan with cities in landlocked Burkina Faso, via its subsidiary Bollore Transport and Logistics.

Sitarail said in an emailed statement that a final agreement signed on Tuesday "removed the last conditions impeding the implementation of the revised concession."

It did not explain what had been holding up the agreement, which was initially signed a year ago.

The investments over an initial four-year period will go towards a complete renovation of 200 km (124 miles) of track as well as several train stations in order to modernise services and decrease transit delays, Sitarail said.

Bollore, which also operates Cameroon's Camrail, is seeking to create a new 2,700 km railway loop that will link five West African countries, mainly by connecting several existing rail lines.

($1 = 0.8682 euros) (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Mark Potter)